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What is Deep Tissue Laser Therapy?

Deep tissue laser therapy uses high-powered class IV lasers to deliver healing red and near-infrared light deep inside the body, promoting tissue healing. The lasers used in laser therapy have longer wavelengths the human eye cannot see, and each wavelength can provide a different therapeutic effect. This article explains in more detail how deep tissue therapy works.

What is Deep Tissue Laser Therapy?

Deep tissue laser therapy uses laser energy to reach deep into tissue using different wavelengths of light. The goal is to reduce inflammation and promote healing.

The human eye can detect wavelengths of 380 to 750 nanometers. Laser therapy systems typically involve the use of three specific wavelengths:

  • 810nm wavelength: Stimulates the delivery of oxygen to red blood cells, which helps muscles and tendons regenerate
  • 980nm wavelength: Eases pain, improves circulation, and enhances muscle relaxation
  • 1064nm wavelength: Penetrates tissue deep inside the body to activate metabolic processes in deeper tissue

The power output of deep tissue laser devices is also essential, as the repair of scar tissue on the skin's surface requires different power than the treatment of tissue deep inside the body.

How Deep Tissue Laser Therapy Works

Laser therapy utilizes a process called photobiomodulation. Photobiomodulation interacts with the mitochondria or powerhouse in cells. This interaction can increase cell metabolism while reducing pain and inflammation—all without the side effects you see in other forms of therapy.

Because of the way deep tissue laser therapy works and the various power options that come with it, practitioners can customize the treatment to meet the patient's needs. Custom treatments consider the body region, condition, and characteristics of an injury to deliver the correct dose and wavelength of light.

Is Deep Tissue Laser Therapy the Same as Red Light Therapy?

Both red light therapy and laser treatments use various wavelengths of light to stimulate the mitochondria in cells. However, deep tissue laser therapy uses Class IV lasers to deliver healing red and near-infrared light deeper into the tissue for more targeted treatment.

Is There Research that Backs Up the Use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy?

The use of lasers in healthcare is a topic often studied by researchers. One 2016 clinical trial found that low-level laser therapy was an effective way to stimulate the receptors of cell membranes and mitochondria to reduce pain and inflammation and promote healing.

In addition, the National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that quality evidence supports the use of laser therapy to reduce even chronic pain. A 2022 systemic review of research discovered that both low- and high-level laser therapy could improve the function of those with nonspecific back pain.

What are the Biologic Effects of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy?

Deep tissue laser therapy offers a variety of beneficial effects. Practitioners may suggest deep tissue laser therapy for the treatment of:

Laser therapy treatments are customizable, which allows your healthcare professional to tailor your treatment to your specific needs. Deep tissue laser therapy provides several health benefits, including:

  • Reducing inflammation
  • Easing pain
  • Improving blood flow

Learn & discover the power of laser therapy with in-person seminars hosted by Aspen Laser.

What to Expect with Deep Tissue Laser Therapy

The healthcare provider uses a machine to deliver laser light to muscles. The procedure is painless and non-invasive—you will only feel the laser device touching your skin.

You will not feel any vibration or uncomfortable heat, although some patients report a warm, soothing sensation. Deep tissue laser devices do not make sound, so it is a calming experience.

There is no special preparation for red light therapy. Each deep tissue laser treatment takes only a few minutes, and the procedure has no downtime. You can resume your normal activities right away.

Most people will start to feel better immediately after their first session. Depending on your condition, you may enjoy lasting results after several treatments.

Could Deep Tissue Laser Therapy be Bay for You?

Laser therapy is generally considered a safe option to treat pain and inflammation. However, there are potential risks that come with any treatment. Some risk factors with this therapy include:

  • Skin irritation
  • Burns
  • Eye problems if exposed to laser light
  • Infection if there is skin irritation or treatment near an open wound

In addition, there is some evidence to support the increased risk of skin cancer with excessive exposure to a laser. The risk is minimal, though. Deep tissue laser therapy is safe for most people; talk to your provider before having it if you have any particular health considerations.

Deep tissue laser therapy is a highly effective and pain-free approach to treating musculoskeletal conditions and other health issues. For more information, visit our website to find your local Aspen Laser medical provider.

Meta: Deep tissue laser therapy can help reduce inflammation and heal injuries. Aspen Laser answers your questions about deep tissue laser therapy.


This blog post was originally published on January 18, 2021, and was last updated on April 8, 2024.

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